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Pennsylvania State Government Leadership

March 15, 2023

Three Penn Carey Law alumni have accepted high-level leadership roles in Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro’s administration.

Governor Josh Shapiro, the 48th governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has tapped three University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School alumni to serve in his administration.

Mira Baylson L’08: Executive Deputy Secretary

Mira Baylson L’08 is the new Executive Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Mira Baylson L'08 Mira Baylson L'08

Prior to joining the Department of State, Baylson was an attorney at Cozen O’Connor, focusing her practice on state attorney general investigations and litigation and white-collar defense. Throughout her career, Baylson has dedicated ample time and effort to pro bono efforts, and before entering the private sector, she spent four years as a Public Defender in Philadelphia.

In beginning her new role, Baylson underscored the value of the legal training she received at Penn Carey Law.

“This is the first time in my career where being a lawyer is not a substantial part of my job, but obviously all of the legal education and experience I have has prepared me to do this job,” said Baylson. “Law school helps you think critically about problems and analyze potential results and solutions. Training your mind in that way is always helpful when you’re coming into a role that is focused on improving things.”

To Baylson, the Department of State’s main aims — ensuring free and fair elections, upholding the law as written, and supporting a strong economy wherein individuals and businesses can thrive — are essentially non-partisan and “something everyone can get behind.” As the Executive Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth, Baylson is eager to begin working toward these goals alongside a strong administration dedicated to serving all Pennsylvanians.

“Opportunities like this don’t come along often,” Baylson said. “The opportunity to work for both [Governor Shapiro and Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt] really felt like a once in a lifetime chance to do something important for our State.”

Sarah Hammer WG’99, L’11: Secretary of Banking and Securities

Sarah Hammer WG’99, L’11 said that she is “deeply honored to serve as Secretary of Banking and Securities for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Sarah Hammer WG'99, L'11 Sarah Hammer WG’99, L’11As the Secretary of Banking and Securities, Hammer will supervise more than 290,000 financial institutions and entities, including depository institutions and non-banks, and working to ensure that consumers and businesses are well-informed about the marketplace.

Hammer brings a wealth of experience in financial leadership to her new role. She previously served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions and Director of the Office of Financial Institutions Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She has also served on several boards, including the Securities Investor Protection Corporation and the Independent Management Advisory Committee of the International Telecommunications Union at the United Nations. She is a member of the Americal Law Institute.

Moreover, Hammer also plans to draw on her experience as an educator. Immediately prior to entering her role as the Secretary of Banking and Securities, Hammer taught “The Future of Finance” as an Adjunct Professor at Penn Carey Law while simultaneously serving as the Managing Director of the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance and Senior Director of the Harris Alternative Investments Program at Wharton.

“The Department has made education and outreach a priority,” Hammer said. “I feel extremely grateful that my experiences at the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School helped to prepare me for this role.”

Akbar Hossain L’18, LPS’18: Secretary of Policy and Planning

Akbar Hossain L’18, LPS’18 will serve as Shapiro’s Secretary of Policy and Planning.

“I am looking forward to bringing people together,” said Hossain. “I am of the firm belief, at the end of the day, that whether it’s Pennsylvanians or Americans in general, we just want folks who want to get things done and do good by people. The needs of our communities are too big and too urgent for us to bicker over partisan politics.”

Akbar Hossain L'18, LPS'18 Akbar Hossain L’18, LPS’18Hossain has worked with Shapiro for several years. Prior to his appointment in Shapiro’s cabinet, Hossain served as the Executive Director of the Transition Team, which also included David A. Nasatir L’95 and Wendell E. Pritchett PhD’97, James S. Riepe Presidential Professor of Law and Education. Before that, Hossain was the Policy Director for Shapiro’s campaign.

A Toll Scholar and founding member of Penn Carey Law’s First-Generation Professionals student group, Hossain is driven by a passion for public service. In his work, he strives toward cultivating communities wherein everyone, no matter what their economic background, has access to the resources they need to thrive.

“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead Governor Shapiro’s policy agenda and help him fulfill his promises to deliver real results for all Pennsylvanians. There are people across Pennsylvania who are still looking for the same shot I was given, and it’s our responsibility to serve them,” Hossain said. “We are working toward growing an economy that works for all people — because at the end of the day, that’s what helped my family — and ensuring that every child receives a quality education, because I wouldn’t be here without that opportunity.”

Learn more about how Penn Carey Law helps alumni launch impactful careers.